Seven Smells that Remind Me Of Germany
Smell is the said to be the strongest trigger to memory. Here are seven smells that I associated strongly with my adopted home.
Pinetrees after Christmas waiting to be picked up
On one specific day in January you are allowed to place your used trees in the street to be picked up. On that day the street is full of the smell of pine. If people forget and put it out just one day late, you get to “enjoy” that smell for several weeks.
Roasting Chestnuts in the Winter
Despite singing about roasting chestnuts over open fire throughout my entire childhood, I first encountered people ACTUALLY doing it in Germany. Setups range from half oil drums and a guy to little huts. The nuts roast and are served warm in paper funnels. I don’t actually like eating them, but they are nice to hold in the freezing air.
Stale beer at the deposit machine
Pfand is the German word for deposit. Beer bottles are either 8 cents or 15cents. Coke bottles are similar. Toss the bottles in ass first to the hole and they get counted and sent to a room behind the machine to be sorted. Often there are spills and bottles aren’t always fully empty. This gives the wafting air out through the hole a distinct smell not unrelated to under the bleachers at a baseball stadium.
A freshly sold pretzel
I could add just the smell of a bakery, but the specific smell is that of a pretzel. It isn’t just bread, there is something more about it. Maybe the remnants of the laugen (lye) or something else I don’t know. It is totally German. Since smell is a component of taste, it just makes the mouth water to smell and see a tray from the oven.
Ok, I know it is stereotypical, but this is still the land of sausage. When I smell the slightly greasy meaty smell, I smell Germany.
Hoppy smell of a freshly popped beer
To counteract the sour smell of the deposit machine, I think of a freshly popped beer. A local brewery that I like sells beer with pop caps. There is a little metal cage that keeps the rubber ringed cap on. A little push and the whole thing pops with a great sound. Then you get a rush of the hoppy smell of a perfectly fresh beer. Ahh.
Fresh Land Air
“Frische Landluft” a roommate called it. Fresh land air as translated is the smell of manure from the fields up in the valley that wafts down into town when the winds shift. Not a great smell, but it certainly reminds me of home.
Do you associate places with smells?
June 17, 2012 @ 2:50 am
I love this post, whenever I smell the smoke from a wood fireplace I think of when I was a very young kid, playing in the snow near dusk.
September 15, 2011 @ 9:00 am
Kelly’s is in the Newtown neighborhood of Sydney. Old favorite. 🙂
September 4, 2011 @ 4:52 am
I love this post! It’s so true all the things that can remind you of a place. I walked into an old favorite pub in Sydney the other night and even though it was probably just “pub smell” in my mind it was that familiar “Kelly’s Pub smell”. Brought me back to two years ago!
September 14, 2011 @ 8:52 pm
Pub smell is awesome (as long as it isn’t cigarette laden.) The smell of wood and beer is nice. Where is Kelly’s? Our local is called O’Kellys.
September 2, 2011 @ 2:26 pm
I agree, scent is definitely a trigger of memories. Freshly cut grass and the smell of wet soil remind me of our old home when I was still a kid.
August 29, 2011 @ 10:13 pm
Sometimes, usually smaller places like homes and shops but I can’t wait to smell these scents when I finally get to Germany next month!
September 14, 2011 @ 8:51 pm
Oo.. where are you going to be in Germany?
August 28, 2011 @ 7:28 pm
The smell of stale air combined with the typical smell of electric motors and ozone reminds me of the metro in Paris or the tube in London.
September 14, 2011 @ 8:50 pm
Yeah. Although Paris always smells of pee when I went through. Don’t remember so much about London smells.
August 27, 2011 @ 6:36 pm
Whenever I smell diesel fumes from trucks or cars, I have to think of the small villages in Germany with their narrow cobblestone streets and the trucks on those streets. We don’t smell much diesel in Canada ! And on a brighter note.. the bakeries and the fresh breakfast buns!!!
September 14, 2011 @ 8:48 pm
Diesel fumes is kind one of mine too. Definitely breakfast stuff.